The full report of the hearing can be found at this link.
All six former directors in the case admitted that information regarding significant improvement in the company’s financial performance came to their knowledge on 13 October 2014. However, the information wasn’t made public until 7 November, at which point share prices rose by nearly 25%.
This gap between knowledge and disclosure would have given the former directors and any of their associates that they chose to inform the opportunity to buy shares cheaply in anticipation of a price rise when the information became public.
As well as being fined HK$900,000 (about £90,000), Trillion Trophy Asia owner Suen has been directed to attend an SFC-approved training program on the corporate disclosure regime, directors’ duties and corporate governance.
What does this mean for Blues?
Realistically, this ruling has zero effect on the day to day running of the club and as such should not be a cause of worry for fans. The fine is minor and the offence would not cause any regulatory involvement with Suen’s ownership of the club, especially as it’s his first offence.
It’s also truth that Suen’s influence at BCFC has been waning for some time. With the pending 25% sale of the club to Vong Pech’s Oriental Rainbow Investment, Suen may not be the largest shareholder in the club for much longer either.
However, it probably isn’t good news for Birmingham Sports Holdings.
BSH are already being watched by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong because of the issues that affected it in the past in the wake of Carson Yeung being imprisoned for money laundering.
The fact that the company has been continually losing money and getting ever deeper into debt has not gone down well, and now this blemish on the record of the current majority shareholder gives the authorities more reason to watch the company with a careful eye.
That might sound like bad news, but I don’t honestly believe it is.
For the club to be strong, it’s important that the BSH is run correctly and with financial prudence, so in my opinion anything that is conducive to making that happen is a good thing for the club and for the fans.